Things to do in the UAE this week, from Emirates Festival of Literature to food pop-ups

Sample Emirati fusion dishes with Mexican spice on Monday and Aussie aromas on Sunday

The Cloud 22 sky pool has been transformed into a stylish venue by Dolce&Gabbana. Photo: Ounass
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Lots of activities are lined up for both tourists and residents this week, from new pop-up concepts to returning festivals.

Arts and culture enthusiasts are in for a treat as the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and Ras Al Khaimah Art Festival are both opening this week. Those in Abu Dhabi can also catch a classical performance by a world-renowned cellist.

Here, The National rounds up seven things to do around the Emirates from Monday to Sunday.


Emirati food blogger Reza Kiani has teamed up with Tacos Los Hermanos at Neighbourhood Food Hall, Motor City, to launch limited-edition dishes combining Emirati and Mexican flavours.

Diners can try the birria noodles made with brisket cooked for six hours, served with noodles and garnished with onion, coriander and lime; or the classic quesadilla with Chips Oman for the local twist.

Until February 11; noon-11.30pm; from Dh55 per dish; Neighbourhood Food Hall, Motor City; 058 504 4293


On Tuesday, head to Cloud 22 at Atlantis The Royal for a pop-up collaboration between Ounass and Dolce&Gabbana.

The sky pool has been transformed to imbibe the Italian fashion brand's aesthetics – think sun beds draped in the fashion brand's recognisable blue majolica prints.

Aside from the Instagram-worthy views, the pop-up features live music and a curated menu, with dishes such as Oscietra caviar, Gillardeau oysters with Amalfi lemon and balsamic sauce and steak tartare with truffle.

The collaboration extends to a pop-up store at the hotel's Galleria level, where a number of Dolce&Gabbana pieces are on sale.

Open daily, 10am-7pm; from Dh450 per person; Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah; 04 426 2700


Visit the InterContinental Hotel Festival City on Wednesday for the return of the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

The seven-day affair has a jam-packed schedule with literary workshops, talks and other activities meant for the avid reader, or those who simply want to learn more.

This year's line-up includes a diverse set of regional and international literary personalities, including Susan Breen of the best-selling Maggie Dove mystery series and Alexander Steele, president of New York’s Gotham Writers Workshop.

There will also be musical performances, as well as spoken poetry sessions. Some of the events are free of charge, while others require tickets.

Until February 6; 9am-10pm; Dubai Festival City;


On Thursday, renowned Spanish musician Pablo Ferrandez is taking to the stage of The Arts Centre, NYU Abu Dhabi, for his Arab premiere.

Collaborating with prominent musicians in the world of classical music, the captivating performer is known as the “new cello genius”. He will be joined by pianist Luis del Valle on Thursday, to perform numbers, such as De Falla’s 7 Canciones Populares and Beethoven’s Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 3.

Thursday; 7.30pm; from Dh50; Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi;


A weekend family funfair is taking over Gate Avenue at Dubai International Financial Centre, turning it into a children's haven with an array of arts and crafts, games and activities.

There is canvas painting and slime making, for example, as well as rides and attractions, such as a go-kart track, rodeo bull and bouncy castle with a ball pool. Visitors can grab bites from a number of pop-ups on site, such as home-grown brands Mamafri and D'lish.

Until Sunday; 4pm-10pm; from Dh20; Gate Avenue;


Russian rock fans, especially those of the late Soviet singer-songwriter Viktor Tsoi, can head to Zabeel Theatre for a tribute concert reliving his legacy.

Tsoi was known as one of the pioneers of rock music in Russia and was widely credited for popularising it among other Soviet states.

He cofounded the group Kino, regarded as one of the most influential bands in the Russian music scene. Many of their songs were political in nature, particularly those on sixth album Gruppa Krovi in 1987, one of the band's most popular works.

Saturday; 7.30pm; from Dh175; Jumeirah Zabeel Saray;


Take a trip to the Northern Emirates on Sunday, to take part in the continuing Ras Al Khaimah Art 2024 festival.

Numerous exhibitions, art installations as well as cultural performances are happening across Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village until February 29. There are film screenings every Friday, live performances every Saturday and during the weekend, fur parents can even bring their pets. Furry friends can mingle or join workshops, such as pet collar art or pet photography.

Antica Australis pop-up, run by husband-and-wife team Paolo and Kelly Picarazzi, will also be there. Based on the popular restaurant of the same name, located in the historic village of Carcoar in rural Australia, it is known for serving ancient recipes using local ingredients.

At the RAK gig, however, the couple will add an Emirati twist to the dishes.

Until February 29; 10am-11.30pm; free; Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village;

Updated: January 30, 2024, 12:05 PM